The Labour candidates for the Tranent, Wallyford and Macmerry ward in May’s local elections have joined Iain Gray MSP in condemning the proposed closure of the TSB branch on Tranent High Street.

The bank announced its decision last week, claiming that the Tranent branch is not as well used as others. It is suggesting customers use its Haddington or Musselburgh branches instead. The Labour team have been leading local opposition to the proposed closure and have launched a petition against it.

Iain Gray MSP said:

“The closure of local bank branches is becoming a depressingly regular occurrence in East Lothian. This announcement follows hard on the heels of RBS’s closure of the last bank in Prestonpans last year and a number of other local branches over recent years.

“The banks claim that the closures are necessary because of a drop in customer use. However, this does not recognise the fact that those who continue to use branches are often not willing or able to access alternative banking options. In addition to hitting these customers, closing local branches also has a negative impact on high streets and town centres.”

Cllr Jim Gillies, who currently represents Tranent on the council, said:

“Tranent High Street lost it Dunfermline Building Society branch just a couple of years ago and the RBS branch has been put under extra pressure following the closure of the Prestonpans branch. To lose the TSB from the other end of the high street will be a real blow, particularly for older customers. That’s why we’re opposing the decision.”

Fellow candidate Colin McGinn said:

“I know that several local community groups have accounts at the TSB branch, so closing it will be a real inconvenience for them. A huge amount of work and investment has gone into improving Tranent town centre over the last few years, so reducing the mix of businesses on the high street is not good for the town either.”

Labour’s other Tranent candidate, Fiona Dugdale added:

“I have an account at the TSB so I know firsthand how useful it is having the branch in the town. TSB say they will be signposting customers to the Musselburgh or Haddington branches, but neither are very convenient for people, particularly if they don’t have their own transport. It’s not right for TSB to let its customers down in this way.”

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